An Emae man who stabbed his partner with a knife and left her to bleed to death in Port Vila in August last year has been found guilty by the Supreme Court.
Raymond Pakoa was charged with the premeditated intentional homicide of his partner, Flora Jerry, after he stabbed her at least twice and left her in a pool of her own blood before he fled.
As reported by Daily Post’s senior journalist, late Jonas Cullwick at the time, Flora left the house at about 4.45am on August 3, and was making her way to the main road to catch the bus to Tebakor Shopping Centre, where she had been an employee for a significant period of time, when Pakoa, approached her and thrust a sharp metallic implement, which police say is a small knife, through her neck.
The woman’s distraught colleagues at the shop said her death was sadly watched by her small daughter — one of four children from her late husband.
Supreme Court Judge Richard Chetwynd noted in his judgment last Friday that much of what happened is agreed and admitted by the defendant, before he was found guilty.
Pakoa admitted that he stabbed the victim early in the victim early in the morning on August 3 and as a result of the stab wounds he inflicted, Flora died.
The only issue was whether the murder of Flora was premeditated.
As rendered by Pakoa and witnesses, he and the late Flora had an unstable relationship chiefly because of his violent behaviour.
Two witnesses, including a chief who oversaw a meeting convened in 2017 regarding an incident where Pakoa assaulted the late Flora.
They both told the court what late Flora said in the meeting and that Pakoa also agreed during the same meeting that Flora’s words were true.
According to the witnesses, Flora related in the meeting that Pakoa had assaulted her and told her he would use the knife so that she could meet or follow her husband who was deceased.
Justice Chetwynd stated that Pakoa also admitted that he was angry with the victim and head-butted her in front of her 5-year-old daughter the night before he stabbed her the next morning.
“The defendant gave sworn evidence and when doing so he placed a lot of the blame on the victim,” the Supreme Court Judge stated.
“He agreed the relationship was stormy and involved violence but he said the victim caused many of the problems by criticising him and by not treating his sons (from a previous relationship) properly and by being jealous.
“The defendant (Pakoa) says that in the early hours of the morning of the 3rd of August he came to the realisation the victim’s family might be cross with him because of the head butting incident the night before.
“He decided he would have to leave for a while and get ready to pay compensation in order to be able to arrange a reconciliation.”
Claiming he was new to the Ohlen area he took a knife for personal protection since it was dark. He said the victim saw him pick up the knife.
Pakoa gave evidence to the victim followed him and was swearing at him and making accusations when he was leaving. He said she swore at him and his sister that caused him to react.
He said he thought he stabbed the victim twice in the belly, contrary to evidence from Dr. Garae, the Vila Central Hospital pathologist.
“Her (Dr. Garae) expert opinion was there were four distinct stab wounds,” stated the Supreme Court Judge.
“One was to the front side of the neck, another to the right upper breast area, a third blow was to the upper left abdomen and one was to the left side of the chin.
“There was also a cut caused by a bladed instrument on the left side of the neck, this was described as an incisional wound.”
“The unchallenged evidence from the pathologist was that the stab wound to the right side of the neck severed the carotid artery and the stab wound to the chest penetrated the right lung and the heart.”
It was Dr Garae’s opinion that either of the wounds would been resulted in the certain and rapid death of the victim through massive loss of blood.
She said because the wounds penetrated the muscle and bone they would have had to have been delivered with considerable or significant force.
Meanwhile the court also found that Pakoa was also violent in his past relationship but similar to the situation between him and the victim, he blamed his former partner for being jealous and fighting with him.
The court findings show that he used a knife to assault his former partner cutting her arms once and stabbing her on the stomach on another occasion.
“The evidence of the defendant being violent to his previous partner and to the victim and his use of a knife in his assaults on both of them indicates his propensity to violence and to use a knife during violent attacks,” stated the Supreme Court Judge.
Taking into account all the evidence, Justice Chetwynd reach a conclusion that the murder of late Flora was premeditated by her partner.
“It may not have involved any detail or long term planning but I am sure beyond reasonable doubt that the murder of Flora was premeditated,” Chetwynd stated.
“The defendant had it in his mind that he was going to stab Flora to death before he did so and at the time carried out the attack with the knife.”